A Conversation with Helena Nordh Isaksson, Head of Marketing and Communications at Flowbox
In today's MarTech Leader conversation, we speak with Helena Nordh Isaksson, head of marketing and communications at Flowbox. We discuss how she's working on building a marketing team from scratch and the challenges that come with it.
At Flowbox, we consider ourselves a startup, but at this point, we're probably more of a scale-up—we have over 70 employees. The company was founded in 2016, but we're growing at a very fast pace. We grew without external capital from zero to almost 40 million Swedish krona, which is around 4 million euros, in less than four years. Currently, we have offices in four countries. The head office is in Sweden, where I'm located; we also have a rather big office in Amsterdam. We have a small office in Zurich, Switzerland and in Antwerp, Belgium. So, we have a pretty strong European presence.
We're a B2B SaaS company. We provide a platform for collecting user-generated content on social media. But we also offer a content marketing platform on a broader level. It's essentially a user-generated content marketing tool. Many of our customers are brands within, for example, fashion, interior design, or retail. But we also have brands in other industries such as tourism, food and drink, and so on. It's a broad range of customers.
With our platform, brands can use content created by the customers in their own digital marketing in order to increase their commercial weight and strengthen their online communities. We help companies boost the online engagement of their own customers online, but also sell more and close more deals. For the brands, it's a very cost-effective way to generate engaging content, because nowadays, it's very time consuming to create engaging content, as there's so much content out there.
More and more companies are now discovering the power of user-generated content, so recently, we've seen some upcoming competitors. However, we offer both a UGC and a content marketing platform and have a strong offering.
My role is to lead our marketing efforts, but the head of marketing role can be very different from company to company. So, because we're still a pretty small team, you have to be able to do everything. Right now, I would say my role is 50/50 strategic and operational. I create spreadsheets, sometimes I do copywriting, I publish press releases, but also I create the strategies.
Right now, I'm focusing a lot on inbound marketing, because we're launching a new website next year. So that's taking most of my time at this point. And I do everything from PR to setting up the marketing automation strategy to looking at search engine optimization. We're literally starting from a blank sheet of paper, because when I started in the company, there was no marketing plan, nothing. I'm creating everything from scratch, which is a huge challenge, but it's also very fun.
We have a small team of employees who are all focused on content marketing, and that's because content marketing has been a very big part of our marketing plan since I started. You don't have to spend huge amounts of money on digital ads. With little effort and money, you can create a lot of content that will provide a lot of value for visitors and for leads. Everyone on the content marketing team has a slightly different role, and together they cover product marketing, email marketing, partnership marketing, and social media marketing.
At this point, we're still evaluating what KPIs we should focus on—ultimately, I think our marketing work should drive business value and generate leads. So if I were to pick one KPI, it would be conversion rate, because lead generation is the whole core of marketing to me. But I also think it's not just about conversions, because if you focus too much on that, you lose a lot of things. Sometimes, it's just about brand awareness, which is more difficult to measure.
In terms of our tools, I'm trying to be very cost effective, because our marketing budget isn't huge. We have to be inventive and creative with the resources that we have. We don't use a lot of fancy tools—I actually use Google spreadsheets a lot for a lot of processes. And I think that you can do a lot of a lot with the Google suite.
We're growing fast. So up until this point, our product has been focusing a lot on UGC, as I mentioned. But going forward, our goal is to become more of a content marketing platform on a general level. So that's the main goal for the whole business.
In the marketing department, our goal is to create a lead generation machine. We're focusing a lot on inbound marketing and improving our strategies for lead generation. Flowbox is a pretty new company; we have only been around for a couple of years. So we don't have a complete or defined marketing plan yet, we're still trying to figure things out. Improving our inbound marketing strategy is going to be a huge goal for the next year at least.
I think in my role, I have two main challenges. One is to prove the value of marketing. That's a challenge for a lot of marketing professionals, I suppose. You can track things like lead generation or click-through rates, but it's pretty difficult to measure the success of marketing because measuring brand awareness is complicated. You just have to have a presence on social media, and you have to be out there. But how do you measure success from that? It's a big challenge for me to try to find ways to prove the value of marketing within the company in general.
But also the other challenge, I think, is to build everything from scratch. If you work in a company that already has everything in place, they already have a marketing strategy, they already have their processes—then you just have to maintain that strategy.
We've been doing a lot of webinars, especially during the pandemic. And that's proved to be pretty successful. Our target audience is very busy, and they don't really have time to read a whitepaper or a 20-page guide. So participating in webinars and digital events is great, because usually, you can get the recording afterwards. We receive a lot of positive feedback from participants about that.
We are also really active on LinkedIn and Instagram, and somewhat on Facebook. We have to be out there on social media ourselves to prove that we stand behind the product that we sell. We also share a lot of employee-generated content on social media, and we encourage our employees to share, like, and comment on posts that we share from our official accounts. This has proved to be a successful strategy to increase our organic reach and overall visibility.
Technology, like AR and AI, is going to become a more active part of our reality as marketers, but I think it's still pretty early. It's difficult to say exactly how that's going to play out. I think part of it could be the AI optimization of online advertising. You can already see that, for example, when you do Google Ads, there are very smart features within the platform that can help you create smarter ads. I think that's a trend that you will be able to see on more channels, which is going to be something positive for marketers.
But otherwise, I think it's just going to be a matter of creating more authentic content when it comes to online marketing. And that's a trend that you can see with B2C companies and B2B marketing. Because consumers today, they don't want to see picture-perfect photos or models or products—they want to see real humans.
The biggest challenge in content marketing for me is standing out. There is so much content out there already. Creating quality content these days isn't enough; you need to spend a good amount on distribution too. A couple of years ago, the landscape was quite different. It was enough just to focus on quality—if you had a good writer or you had a good image or video, that was enough. But now, you need to spend a lot of resources on distribution, too.
You need to constantly find new angles and you also need to do it quite consistently—if you're not seen and you're not heard, people are going to forget about you. So you need to really gear up and have a solid content plan in place to drive real value.
You can find Helena Nordh Isaksson on LinkedIn and get more information about Flowbox on their website.
We hope you enjoyed this industry spotlight. You can learn more about our series of interviews with MarTech leaders on social media. Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Learn from our conversations with up-and-coming marketing leaders, published weekly.